Maths & Music

This project focuses on the research and development of learning solutions enabling primary school students to learn math and music simultaneously. So far we have used co-design techniques and Hevner design science research approach to come up with our current flagship product, the mathematical music composing tool Harmony Hippo. With the solutions we create we aim to target both formal and natural learning situations.

Maths and Music Study Session in Namibia

Music is a part of our very biological being. Our brain recognizes familiar music in less than a second and produces an emotional response to it. Music can inspire new thoughts or energize the body while working out. Nation level statistical analysis has shown that playing a musical instrument to correlate with success in various school subjects, including mathematics.  Yet, globally formal music education is suffering and several countries have cut the time reserved for music lessons in their national educational curricula.

Simultaneously, cross-disciplinary education strategies such as phenomenon-based learning have emerged and are included in educational curricula, for example in Finland. Music and mathematics are one of the most natural subjects to be taught together. As music is already filled with mathematics to begin with, the biggest challenge is to create activities and technologies supporting learning the two subjects together. With this project, we seek to bring relevance to formal music education at schools, improve student’s motivation to learn math and music and their skills in the subjects and enhance cultural knowledge and understanding of music.

In the near future, we seek to create many new technologies and solutions for learning math and music together and look forward to rigorously designing and testing them with researchers and children from both Namibia and Finland.


Samuli Laato Doctoral Candidate